From 5th of December 2016, a person smoking in a car which is carrying passengers under 18 years of age will be breaking the law. Offenders could face a £100 fixed penalty fine.
The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Act 2016, creates a new criminal offence, committed by any adult (aged 18 or over), where that adult smokes in a private motor vehicle in the presence of a child (under 18 years of age), while that vehicle is in a public place. The aim of the legislation is to protect children and young people from the harmful effects of exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) in a confined space.
Exposure to second-hand smoke in cars involves higher concentrations of health-threatening chemicals than in larger, open areas. Even if the windows are opened or air conditioning is used, harmful particles can remain in the atmosphere long after the visible smoke has disappeared. The restriction of a vehicle also means individuals are unable to move away from the smoke.
We all have an obligation to protect children and young people from the risks to their life and health, caused by the exposure to second hand smoke and ensure that every child in Scotland has the best start in life. Growing up in a smoke-free environment is an important part of that.
The Scottish Government hope that the introduction of this legislation will help their drive to cut the number of children exposed to second-hand smoke to 6 per cent by 2020. This is a momentous step in pulling Scotland on the path to becoming a tobacco-free generation.
For more information, visit the Healthier Scotland website.